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Win Free Books for the Rest of Your Life. Seriously.

“Library Building” is just another Heywood Hill service….

Poet Terry Kennedy passed this story along through Twitter earlier this week and we just had to share. Because the prize for this competition—one free book a month for the rest of our lives—is basically among our top three fantasies, along with world peace and having membership numbers in the tens of thousands.

London’s Heywood Hill bookshop is taking nominations from readers for the “book that has meant the most to them.” One nomination will be drawn at random, and the winner will receive “one newly published and hand-picked hardback book per month, for life, delivered anywhere in the world.”

For the full story in The Guardian, click here.

Nominees must put forward titles “published in English, or translated into English, after 1936, the year Heywood Hill was founded.”

Situated in the heart of Mayfair, Heywood Hill is one of the leading bookshops of London, trusted by readers and collectors throughout the English-speaking world. Their staff are dedicated bibliophiles who understand the importance of matching the right book with the right person.

The idea for the contest came about from the “A Year in Books” subscription service already offered by the bookstore, where they sit down with a customer to figure out his or her likes and dislikes, then send them one book a month.

The deadline for nominations is October 31. To enter the contest, click here.

Fall Conference Exhibitors: Part 2

Last week we introduced five exhibitors who’ll be at the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2016 Fall Conference, November 4-6, at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley. Among its many programs, Fall Conference offers an exhibit hall packed with vendors, offering attendees a great opportunity to chat with industry insiders in a laid-back environment.

Registration is now open.

So, who else is going to be there?

For nearly fifty years, the North Carolina Arts Council has invested in artists and arts organizations to create an enviable arts infrastructure that reaches every corner of our state. They believe that the arts make North Carolina a great state to live and work. Programs include artist fellowships; the SMART initiative to create an arts-driven economic development plan for the state; cultural trails; and educational programs such as A+ in Action, a whole-school reform model that views the arts as fundamental to teaching and learning in all subjects. The NCAC is also a sponsor of NCWN’s 2016 Fall Conference.

The mission of the North Carolina Literary Map is to highlight the literary heritage of the state by connecting the lives and creative work of authors to real (and imaginary) geographic locations. Through the development of a searchable and browseable data-driven online map, users are able to access a database, learning tools, and cultural resources, to deepen their understanding of specific authors as well as the cultural space that shaped these literary works. The NC Literary Map also offers apps for literary tours of Asheville, Charlotte, and Greensboro, with more in the works!

The North Carolina Literary Review (NCLR) is currently celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary! Produced at East Carolina University and inspired by the North Carolina Literary & Historical Association to be a companion to the North Carolina Historical Review, NCLR publishes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by and interviews with North Carolina writers, and articles and essays about North Carolina writers, literature, and literary history and culture. A cross between a scholarly journal and a literary magazine, NCLR has won numerous awards and citations, including five from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals: the Best New Journal award in 1994, the Best Journal Design award in 1999 and 2010, the Parnassus Award for Significant Editorial Achievement in 2007, and the Phoenix Award for Significant Editorial Achievement in 2014. The print issue is published annually in the summer. It is available via subscription and in independent bookstores across the state. Since 2012, a separate, open access online issue is released in the winter. NCLR facilitates the North Carolina Writers’ Network annual Doris Betts Fiction Prize.

Since 1932, the North Carolina Poetry Society has existed as an all-volunteer organization especially for poets and friends of poetry. We now have approximately 350 members from North Carolina—and numerous locations beyond. The Poetry Society holds regular meetings three times a year. Other programs include annual contests for adults and students, which offer cash prizes and award certificates; the annual Poet Laureate Award, judged by the state’s poet laureate; workshops across the state, offering poets an opportunity to gather for instruction, camaraderie, and networking; and the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series, where three distinguished North Carolina poets are selected annually to mentor student poets in the eastern, central, and western regions of the state.

http://www.pdmcclafferty.com/P.D. McClafferty is a science fiction and fantasy author whose books include …and they are us, Corsairs of Aethalia, and Vale of Tears. A thirty-year veteran of the United States Air Force with a tour in Vietnam and involvement with both Gulf War I and Gulf War II, he graduated (BA and MA) from Vermont College of Norwich University. He currently lives in North Carolina with his wife and two cats. His forthcoming book is Darkness at the Edge of Noon.

Press 53 was founded in October 2005 by Kevin Morgan Watson and quickly began earning a reputation as a quality publishing house of short fiction and poetry collections. Located in Winston-Salem, they publish up to five short fiction collections each year, including the winner of the Press 53 Award for Short Fiction (now open for submissions through December 31!). They publish up to to eight poetry collections each year, including one collection by the winner of the Press 53 Award for Poetry. In July 2010, Press 53 launched Prime Number Magazine, a free online quarterly publication of distinctive poetry and prose. Their authors include former NC poet laureates Joseph Bathanti and Kathryn Stripling Byer and current NC poet laureate Shelby Stephenson; poets Gabrielle Freeman and Joseph Mills; and fiction writers Quinn Dalton and Dennis McFadden.

Registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2016 Fall Conference is now open.

It’s Banned Books Week!

Can you find Waldo? Not if the censors have anything to say about it....

Can you find Waldo? Not if the censors have anything to say about it….

September 25 – October 1 is Banned Books Week, “a celebration of writing that has been challenged by would-be censors.”

It’s a good time for us readers to let our hair down and flash our rebellious side, maybe by doing something daring like reading a “filthy trashy sex novel” such as John Knowles’ A Separate Peace, or even works by North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Maya Angelou, who was one of the most banned authors in America for her unflinching narrative memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Readers don’t get to walk on the wild side all that often, so you can imagine folks are celebrating this week in all sorts of different ways.

The New York Public Library offers a quiz on its website where you can see how well you know your banned books.

Bookstores such as Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill are devoting entire front-of-store displays to banned books, which includes Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini…and Where’s Waldo?

And command central for this celebration is the website for Banned Books Week, which has been causing a literary ruckus since 1982.

So go ahead. Pick up a copy of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, or the Holy Bible, and stick it to the would-be censors. Because these books were among the ten most challenged titles of 2015.

Fall Conference Exhibitors: Part 1

The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2016 Fall Conference runs November 4-6 at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley, in Raleigh. As part of a full weekend of courses, readings, panels, and more, we offer an exhibit hall packed with vendors representing some of the best and brightest literary organizations, publications, and retailers North Carolina has to offer.

The exhibit hall is a key part of the conference experience and definitely should not be missed. This is your chance to chat face-to-face with publishers and marketers who are at their booths with nothing better to do than talk to you too! (In fact, that’s why the exhibitors are there!) It’s a great opportunity to get a feel for the literary landscape in North Carolina. And even if you find yourself talking to a press that doesn’t publish what you write, they may have recommendations as to where else you can send your work.

So, who’s all going to be there? Here are a few, to get us started:

Durham-based Backbone Press is a small press with a big vision. It’s a venue for ethnic poets, including African-American writers, which has a deep interest in poetry by Latino/a, Asian, and other Ethnicities. The press is also a seeker of poetry that is political, evocative, social, gritty, and also personal and poignant. Their forthcoming poetry chapbooks include Memory of a Girl by Aozora Brockman and Strange-tongued Names by Aaron Counts.

Carolina Wren Press is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to publish quality writing, especially by writers historically neglected by mainstream publishing, and to develop diverse and vital audiences through publishing, outreach, and educational programs. This Durham-based publisher hosts the annual Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman, which opens for submissions each spring. CWP authors include Quinn Dalton, Ravi Shankar, and North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Jaki Shelton Green.

Ecotone literary journal and Lookout Books are a magazine and small press based at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Ecotone’s mission is to publish and promote the best place-based work being written today. Their contributors include winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, as well as MacArthur, Guggenheim, and NEA fellows. But they’re equally excited to honor new voices. Lookout Books seeks out emerging and historically underrepresented voices, as well as overlooked gems by established writers. Their authors include Matthew Neil Null, Edith Pearlman, and Clare Beams, who will teach a fiction course at the NCWN 2016 Fall Conference.

The Greensboro Review, published by the MFA in Creative Writing Department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, has been “old school” since 1965. Edited by Jim Clark with Terry L. Kennedy serving as assistant editor, works from the journal are consistently cited and anthologized in the Pushcart Prize, New Stories from the South, Best American Short Stories, and other annual collections honoring the finest writing by both established and emerging talent. TGR offers two awards of $500—one award for fiction, one for poetry—and the winning manuscripts appear in the spring issue.

Minerva Rising Press, an independent literary press, celebrates the creativity and wisdom in every woman by giving them space to tell their stories and to tell them well. They publish thought-provoking and insightful fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry through chapboks and a literary journal. They pride ourselves on building a supportive community of women, because they believe that when women come together, they flourish. They are committed to working with both established and emerging women writers to hone and develop their craft in the direction of growth—both personally and professionally. They offer the annual Owl of Minerva Award: a $500 scholarship established by Minerva Rising to provide one woman writer with financial support to further her writing endeavors.

Registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2016 Fall Conference is open.

Check back soon for more exhibitor introductions!

SIBA Was…

By Ed Southern

The 2016 SIBA Discovery Show was a success for the NCWN members who had their titles on our display table. Various booksellers picked up at least one sample copy of every title, and some titles were gone by the end of the show.

Here’s hoping that those copies are read, and enjoyed, and those titles are ordered for bookstore shelves across the Southeast.

SIBA was also, for me, a chance to catch up with old friends, to hear and discuss the latest industry news, to find out about the forthcoming books that publishers and booksellers are most eager to see and sell, and to remind myself why I got into the book business in the first place.

At the moment I’m reading Azar Nafisi’s The Republic of the Imagination, a work of memoir-as-literary criticism, which posits the notion that readers and writers hold dual (or, sometimes, triple) citizenships—in their countries of birth or residence, and in “the republic of the imagination,” the great community created by books.

SIBA is one of several events—like the Network’s conferences and residency—that renews my loyalty to, and faith in, this republic every year. The book business is a business, and not one for the faint of heart. Nearly everyone in it, though, got into it because at least one book transported and transformed them, once upon a time.

The week before this year’s SIBA Discovery Show saw the announcement that in 2018, the show will move from its traditional format and September date and join with the Great American Bargain Book Show (GABBS), held each March at the AmericasMart in Atlanta, Georgia.

The show will be much bigger, and, for many, easier to reach. I’m always glad to have another fall weekend free for watching college football, too.

I wonder, though, if a March show will give new books—particularly books from debut authors or small presses—the same pre-holiday buzz that the September show has. Laying aside my sentiment, my many happy memories of SIBAs past, that’s my main concern about this change: Will a March SIBA be as welcoming to the Republic of the Imagination’s newest citizens?

NCAC Artist Fellowships

Kim Church reads at NCWN's 2014 Spring Conference. © Jan B. Parker

Kim Church reads at NCWN’s 2014 Spring Conference. © Jan B. Parker

The North Carolina Arts Council is now accepting applications for Artists Fellowships. Songwriters, composers, and writers are encouraged to apply. The deadline is November 1.

Fellowships are awards of merit to individual artists to recognize excellence, as evidenced in a recent body of work. These unrestricted $10,000 grants are intended to allow artists to continue developing their work by providing them with the time, equipment, or other support necessary to practice their art.

Non-student U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens who have been year-round residents of North Carolina for at least one year are eligible. Applicants must also plan to be physically present in the state during the grant period.

The Arts Council has a sweet new web portal which seems pretty easy to use: http://ncarts.org/resources/grants/grants-artists/artist-fellowships/artist-fellowship-application. Applications must be submitted online.

Fellowship recipients are selected by panels of artists and arts professionals with expertise in the discipline under review. The recommendations of the panels must be approved by the Secretary of Natural and Cultural Resources. The primary criterion that panelists will consider is artistic merit. There are no quotas in the selection of fellowship recipients. The Arts Council seeks diversity and balance in the panels it convenes to review the applications, but artistic merit is the determining criterion for awards. Financial need is not a criterion.

2015 recipients in literature included Sheila Webster Boneham (prose); Wiley Cash (prose); Kim Church (prose), Julie Funderburk (poetry); and Lee Zacharias (prose).

For more information, and to apply, click here.

See Us at Bookmarks Tomorrow!

The North Carolina Writers’ Network will have an exhibitor’s booth at tomorrow’s Bookmarks Festival of Books & Authors in downtown Winston-Salem. Come out and say hello!

The Bookmarks Festival of Books & Authors features more than forty authors in a full weekend of readings, panels, booksignings, tons of exhibitors, and a kid-friendly area for families. The festival happens in and around the Milton Rhodes Center for the Creative Arts at 209 Spruce St. North, in Winston-Salem. For full details, click here.

Plenty of Network members are on the slate, including Danny Bernstein, Bonnie J. Doerr, Gary Heidt, Bridgette Lacy, Debbie Moose, Betsy Thorpe, and Ross White.

The Network will sponsor two Slush Pile Live! events at the festival: one at 10:15 am and one at 3:45 pm, both on the City Stage on Spruce Street. Panelists include Gary Heidt, Cheryl Klein, and Betsy Thorpe. The event will be moderated by NCWN executive director Ed Southern.

This is an interactive event for aspiring writers to get immediate feedback on their work from editors and agents. Here’s how it works: a panel of editors and agents will listen to submissions being read out loud and raise their hand when they hear something that would make them stop reading had the sample been submitted to their company. The panel will discuss the sample, offering constructive feedback. All anonymous—all live!

Those interested in having their anonymous work read should bring a hard copy of up to 300 words of prose from a single work. Submissions should be double-spaced. No names should appear on the submission. Please bring your submission to the Information Booth between 9:30 and 10 am for the 10:15 am program or between 3 and 3:30 pm for the 3:45 pm program. Submissions will be chosen at random. Not all submissions are guaranteed to be read due to time limits.

For the full festival schedule, click here.

Pitch Your Book on #PitMad

Ok, all you tweeters. Circle Thursday, September 8, on your calendar. That’s the next #PitMad event, a chance for you to pitch your book to agents (and sometimes, editors) over Twitter, all in 140 characters or less!

Over the course of twelve hours, authors make their best pitches and agents respond, either by tweeting themselves or through direct messaging. Created by Brenda Drake, this online event has grown exponentially. It’s so popular, in fact, there are some new ground rules this time around:

So our new rule is that you may only tweet three (3) pitches (they can be different pitches or the same pitch) per project for the day. You may pitch more than one project. I suggest every four hours or so tweet a different pitch. Or tweet during breakfast, lunch, and dinner breaks.

The pitch must include the hashtag #PitMad and the category (#YA, #MG, #A, #NA, #PB etc.) in the tweet. The “#” is important to include. It will sort the categories to make it easier for the agents/publishers.

Here’s an example of a #PitMad tweet, from author Anthony Awtrey:

When an immortal water spirit catches the attention of a hired killer, her best friend must save her. #pitmad #SFF

Keep in mind, of course, that #PitMad is public. While most agents and editors have nothing but good intentions, there are cautionary tales out there, so be sure to vet anyone who contacts you—and there’s no obligation to send your manuscript just because someone asks for it.

For full #PitMad information and requirements, click here.

The event runs 8:00 am to 8:00 pm EDT on Thursday, September 8. Good luck!

St. Andrews Welcomes Black Mountain College Festival

In the more than half-century since it closed in 1956, Black Mountain College, an experimental college once located in the western North Carolina mountains, has taken on the stuff of myth and legend.

Founded on the heels of “the closing of the Bauhaus by the Nazis, and the beginning of the persecution of artists and intellectuals on the European continent,” many of whom eventually made their way to Black Mountain College, the school was:

owned and operated by the faculty and was committed to democratic governance and to the idea that the arts are central to the experience of learning. All members of the College community participated in its operation, including farm work, construction projects and kitchen duty. Located in the midst of the beautiful North Carolina mountains near Asheville, the secluded environment fostered a strong sense of individuality and creative intensity within the small College community.

Among its poets and students were Robert Creeley, Josef Albers, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Buckminster Fuller, Hilda Morley, and Jonathan Williams.

In 1974, St. Andrews Presbyterian College, now St. Andrews University, “held the first Black Mountain College Festival to celebrate the history, the mission, and the arts of Black Mountain College.” This Fall, the Black Mountain College Festival returns to Laurinburg for a semester-long celebration of scholars, artists, poets, writers, musicians, inventors, and dancers who will be on-hand to revel in the past—and welcome the future.

“St. Andrews is trying to emphasize its connection to Black Mountain College primarily through Ron Bayes,” said Dr. Ted Wojtasik, co-chair of the Black Mountain College Festival and creative writing professor at St. Andrews. “We used to have a lot of Black Mountain College poets come here to read, like Jonathan Williams and Robert Creeley—who were friends of Ron’s. He was in that generation, but he wasn’t physically at Black Mountain College.”

Ron Bayes is a 2014 inductee of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame.

The Black Mountain College festival events include “poetry readings, prose readings, art exhibits, dance performance and open mic readings for anyone to express their artistic abilities.” Basil King and Martha King, both alumni of Black Mountain College who met and married after meeting there, are scheduled to read poetry and prose on Thursday, October 27, at the Ronald H. Bayes Lounge of Orange Hall on the St. Andrews campus. There is also the possibility that Mary de Rachewiltz, the daughter of Ezra Pound, may appear. The festival concludes November 19 with a panel discussion on the future of Black Mountain College on Saturday, November 19.

For more information on the Black Mountain College festival, click here.

New Website for NC Arts Council

NC Arts Trail

NC Arts Trail

The North Carolina Arts Council launched a new website this month: www.ncarts.org.

Graphic-based, efficient, and modern, the new site highlights favorite programs through a slideshow on the home page and offers easy access to other features through a drop-down menu up top.

The site and the new A+Schools website are mobile friendly and were designed by the Arts Council’s graphic design and website manager, Hal Earp.

Visitors can jump to the North Carolina Arts Council’s social media accounts at the bottom of the page.

Feedback? Found a link that doesn’t work? Contact NCAC at ncarts@ncdcr.gov.